Dear Privacy Practitioner,
Following the amendments to Health Privacy Principle (HPP) 10 and 11 in the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIP Act) in early 2012, I have issued NSW Genetic Health Guidelines entitled: ĎUse and disclosure of genetic information to a patientís genetic relatives: Guidelines for organisations in NSWí.
The NSW Genetic Health Guidelines set out the framework to assist the health practitioners when deciding on whether to use or disclose genetic information in accordance with the legislation and the Commonwealth guidelines issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
The amendments to HPP 10 and 11 allow the use and disclosure of a patientís genetic information to a genetic relative without their consent by an organisation in specific circumstances only. The circumstances include those that lessen or prevent a serious threat to the life, health or safety of a genetic relative of the individual to whom the information relates. In the case of disclosure, this includes information about deceased relatives.
These amendments are contained in Health Legislation Amendments Act 2012 and take effect on 1 November 2014.
I encourage you to read the NSW Genetic Health Guidelines which can be located here.
Dr Elizabeth Coombs
NSW Privacy Commissioner